Lok Sabha to begin discussion on Lokpal Bill on Tuesday

The House will witness a day-long combined discussion on the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2011 and the Constitution (Amendment) Bill to give the ombudsman a Constitutional status. The Public Interest Disclosure and Protection to Persons Making the Disclosures Bill, 2010 (popularly known as Whistle-blowers’ Bill) will also be discussed along with the two bills

New Delhi: The Lok Sabha will on Tuesday begin discussion on the much talked about Lokpal Bill, even as social activist Anna Hazare begins his three-day fast at the same time in Mumbai for a ‘strong’ Lokpal, reports PTI.

The House will witness a day-long combined discussion on the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2011 and the Constitution (Amendment) Bill to give the ombudsman a Constitutional status.

The Public Interest Disclosure and Protection to Persons Making the Disclosures Bill, 2010 (popularly known as Whistle-blowers’ Bill) will also be discussed along with the two bills.

The Congress party has already issued a three-line whip to its members to remain present in the Lok Sabha during the debate.

The party has also requested its allies in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) to issue similar whips.

The Lokpal Bill (anti-corruption Bill) seeks to provide for the establishment of a Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in states to inquire into allegations of corruption against public functionaries.

The Bill had faced objections from various political parties including the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party at the stage of introduction last week, saying 50% quota for minorities in the Lokpal bench and the Search Committee was ‘unconstitutional’.

Several parties had slammed the measure claiming that the Bill made it obligatory upon states to establish Lokayuktas and it was an infringement on the federal structure of the country.

Some others had criticised the move to put the prime minister under the ambit of the anti-corruption watchdog.

Mr Hazare has announced that he will begin his three-day fast at Mumbai from tomorrow to protest a ‘weak’ Lokpal Bill.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi had declared that she will fight for the Lokpal Bill.

She had recently told party MPs (Members of Parliament) that to tackle the issue of corruption, three bills with major implications are to be passed soon—those relating to the protection of whistle-blowers, enhancing judicial accountability, strengthening anti-money laundering operations and controlling bribery of Indian public officials by foreign companies.

The government aims to establish a mechanism to receive complaints relating to disclosure on any allegation of corruption or wilful misuse of power or wilful misuse of discretion against any public servant under the Whistle-blowers’ Bill which will also come for discussion in the Lower House tomorrow.

The measure also seeks to provide adequate safeguards against victimisation of the person making such a complaint.
 

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Moneylife Foundation seminars: 100 and still counting

In a short span of just under two years, Moneylife Foundation has reached its first century of seminars and workshops. All members and volunteers are roaring to go for the next century

The Moneylife Foundation is on the verge of creating another record. This time, the Foundation is organising its 100th seminar on Tuesday with a much-in-demand talk on Wills & Nomination by well-known legal expert and chartered accountant Vimal Punmiya.

The Foundation was established in February 2010 by Debashis Basu and Sucheta Dalal, with a vision to be a catalyst in making investors and consumers better informed and to engage policymakers so that regulations, procedures provide a fair deal to investors and consumers. Sucheta Dalal, Founder-Trustee of Moneylife Foundation, says, "Our Mission is to help people who work hard, earn, save and still don't seem to have a say in the decisions that affect us, because we are neither a vote bank nor part of any vested interests."

In over a year and half, Moneylife Foundation has conducted 100 events. Some of the flagship seminars include, 'How to be safe and smart with your money' which is conducted by Ms Dalal and Mr Basu. That apart, the Foundation has held seminars on the Union Budget, mutual funds, financial scams, pensions, banking services, insurance, wills, m-commerce, real estate, credit cards, tax returns, how to deal with mis-selling by banks, credit bureaus, right to information and many others. While many of these have been done in Mumbai, the Foundation has also conducted seminars in Pune, Nashik, Kolkata, Gurgaon, Bangalore and Chennai.

Last year, while speaking at Moneylife Foundation’s first anniversary, Dr KC Chakrabarty, Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India, said,”It was a pleasure to have been a part of your first anniversary celebrations. Moneylife is doing an excellent job in financial literacy and also creating consumer awareness about financial markets, products and services, which is a challenging job. Keep it up!”

The Foundation had also published three Position Papers and several representations which were sent to policymakers in the relevant ministries. The first was on ‘Financial Issues Faced by Senior Citizens’ was prepared in consultation with several NGOs working on senior citizens’ issues. The second was on ‘Financial Issues Faced by Retail Investors’, which gives an insight into declining participation of retail investors. The third position paper was on Health Insurance Portability.

In addition, the Foundation has sent representation and memorandums to authorities and ministers. This includes a representation sent to the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister and RBI urging a ban on multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes andmemorandum on TDS sent to the FM and RBI and memorandum to BEST and Chief Minister of Maharashtra appealing to start air shuttle for Mumbai Airport.

Moneylife Foundation has tied up with DISHA Financial Counselling of ICICI Bank to spread financial literacy through workshops, besides creating forums for debt counselling. The effort aims at enhancing the overall financial health of consumers, especially those who are suffering from debt-related issues.

"The Foundation has an important date coming up in the New Year. Moneylife Foundation will be celebrating its second anniversary on 4 February 2012 with an interesting guest and programme," says Ms Dalal.

Moneylife Foundation spreads financial literacy through a free reading room of business books, workshops, counselling, grievance redressal, lectures by experts and inputs for effective policy-making. Membership to the Foundation is completely free with no hidden riders and thousands have benefited from its efforts. 

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COMMENTS

Vinay Joshi

5 years ago

MDT, ML, Ms.Sucheta & Mr.Debashis,

I'm not at all surprised, in fact delighted to hear of the significant accomplishments of whole dedicated ML achieved in a short time since inception.

The prestigious award to you Ms. Sucheta was for your outstanding achievement, you are continuing the same legacy ably supported by the determination, should not i mention, Mr.Debashis, you two sensitive to the needs of financial literacy, devoted, to stand up for what is right & fair & keep going!

My sincerest wishes in your continued success, my compliments untold.

Regards,

CNG may cost Rs2 more

The hike has been necessitated because IGL and other city gas firms were being forced to buy expensive imported LNG as supplies from Reliance Industries’ eastern offshore KG-D6 gas field have dried-up due to fall in output

New Delhi: The price of compressed natural gas (CNG) may be hiked by up to Rs2 per kg in the next few days as rupee devaluation has pushed up input cost, reports PTI.

City gas retailers including Indraprastha Gas, which supplies CNG to automobiles and piped cooking gas to households in the national capital, are likely to announce fuel price revision over the weekend, sources privy to the development said.

IGL had last raised CNG in Delhi by Rs2 to Rs32 per kg from 1st October.

Sources said the hike was necessitated because IGL and other city gas firms were being forced to buy expensive imported LNG as supplies from Reliance Industries’ eastern offshore KG-D6 gas field have dried-up due to fall in output.

Also, the rupee depreciation has made raw material—that is, natural gas from Reliance, state-owned GAIL and imported LNG—even costlier.

The rupee was at about Rs49.50 to a US dollar at the time of last price hike and it is today close to Rs53 to a US dollar.

The government has fixed the price of domestic gas produced by state-owned ONGC and RIL in US dollar terms and every time the rupee depreciates against the US currency, users end up paying more. Gas from both Reliance and ONGC is priced at $4.20 per million metric British thermal units (mmBtu).

IGL contracted 0.308 million standard cubic metres per day of gas from RIL, but following a 35% drop in KG-D6 output, supplies to city gas projects have been cut so that demand of priority power and fertiliser sector can be met.

Sources said companies like IGL and Mahanagar Gas in Mumbai are buying imported liquefied natural gas (LNG), which is priced at over $17 per mmBtu, to meet the shortfall.

IGL get up to 2.7 mmscmd of gas from domestic fields of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and buys another 0.6 mmscmd as LNG.
 

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